Valley Center Seniors and Distracted Driving Collisions

For most Valley Center residents, news of a distracted driving accident does not produce an image of an older adult driver talking or texting on a cell phone. Yet seniors in California routinely use their phones when they are behind the wheel of an automobile, including in San Diego County. California has had a ban on handheld cell phone use while driving since 2008, but seniors, along with drivers of other ages, continue to talk and text on their phones despite the ban. Indeed, data from a distracted driving study in Southern California suggests that teenagers and young adults certainly are not the only age group responsible for distracted driving crashes resulting from improper cell phone use. What should you know about older adult drivers and the risks of distracted driving? 

UC San Diego School of Medicine Study Shows Seniors Engage in Distracted Driving Behaviors at High Rates

According to a study conducted by researchers at the UC San Diego, seniors use cell phones behind the wheel much more frequently than you might think. Indeed, researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine’s Training, Research, and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) program found that almost 60% of seniors aged 65 and older use their cell phones for talking or texting while driving, putting themselves and others on the road at serious risk of injury in a distracted driving collision. 

As the study points out, “the distracted driving habits of young drivers have received a lot of media attention, with reports of SnapChatting, tweeting, texting, and other dangerous behaviors,” yet until the authors of the study investigated the question further, “there ha[d] been a lack of data on whether seniors also engage in these behaviors behind the wheel.” In the study, the researchers gathered information from nearly 400 anonymous drivers aged 65 and up, and they looked specifically at the ways in which those drivers engaged with technology while they were behind the wheel.

Older Adults are Distracted Less Than Young Adults, But They are Still Distracted

The findings revealed that, although older drivers tend to be distracted by cell phones at lower rates than young adult drivers, seniors are nonetheless distracted by smart phones at surprisingly high rates. Of the 60% of senior drivers who admitted to using a cell phone while driving, those motorists also tended to have “a skewed sense of their multi-taking abilities,” suggesting that they could be at even greater risk of a collision. Indeed, many seniors believe that their experience behind the wheel means that they are able to navigate cell phone usage while driving better than younger drivers. 

Seniors also tend to have more medical problems that can create additional risk factors for car accidents that “reduce their ability to drive safely,” the authors of the UC San Diego study noted, “such as vision deterioration, frailty, and cognitive impairment.”

Contact Our Valley Center Car Accident Lawyers 

Distracted driving crashes can be devastating and catastrophic. If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a distracted driving collision, one of our experienced Valley Center car accident attorneys can discuss your options for seeking financial compensation. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information about motor vehicle accident insurance claims and lawsuits in Southern California.


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